Monday, April 30, 2007

Next stop, Istanbul

Pall Mall today was taken over by the Gumball 3000 Rally. What? You've never heard of it? Maybe that'll be because you can't afford the £28,000 it costs to enter. The rally goes from London to Istanbul and back, dropping in on loads of places on the way.

Basically, its a beano for the ultra wealthy. As the announcer said "If you have a Lamborghini today, it REALLY doesn't stand out".

More pics of the exotic cars here.

posted by Ham at 00:07 -- Comments here: 10

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It takes all sorts


If you saw this sign on a pub, it might not be your first choice of venue. That is, unles you were a Goth, in which case you might get quite excited. This is the sign outside the Devonshire Arms, Camden - "London's Gothic Watering Hole". It takes all sorts, and I have to tell you I'm pleased about that.

posted by Ham at 00:01 -- Comments here: 8

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Clout casting is here!


Never cast a clout till May be out. An old saying that means "Don't take off your winter clothing till..." well, that's where it all goes a bit odd. Most people think it means "ooo, it can get cold until the end of May". But actually, the very English Hawthorn is also known as the May Tree, and its blossom is called May. So it could mean, wait until May blossom is out: in London this year it's been around for a week or so already - as have some people, casting clouts.

Pretty, innit?

posted by Ham at 00:01 -- Comments here: 7

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hare today, gone tomorrow

March hare sighted going west. This whimsical statue is in the Broadgate Centre, and always cheers me up. I thought it quite suited to this time of year. Barry Flannagan the artist appears to have a thing about hares, I rather like his stuff but, as I can't find any prices, I think that means I can't afford it.

posted by Ham at 00:17 -- Comments here: 6

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Let there be light....

Books. That word alone gives you warm thoughts. But imagine a world without Andrew Carnegie. His rags to riches story is the stuff from which fables are made. And having made his fortune, he set about to give it away. Which is why there were 2,500 free public libraries created worldwide.

This one is in Manor Park, and his bust is mostly ignored in a niche high on the side wall. Manor Park is just the area full of immigrants for which Carnegie created these libraries. You can see the inscription above the door here, more general view here. (Mind you, looks to me as if Brian has borrowed a few books - I wonder if he brought them back?) It was LDP regular Olive who asked about them here.

More about Carnegie's socialogical background here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 4

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An Englishman's Home....

So. What do you do if you aspire to a mansion, but live in a Victorian terrace? Answer: Stick your gargoyles wherever you can. You really can't confine the human spirit. This house is in Leyton, a typically mixed area of London, in one of the less solubrious parts. As throughout London, this can change from street to street.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 18

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Living in the Past

If you come here often, you must have seen how I prefer the individual to the chain, the quirky to the bland. It's cities like London that allow places like this - All Flutes Plus to exist. That's what they sell: flutes. I confess to knowing little about flutes but, at a guess, this little shop must be the best place in the UK, perhaps the world, for a flute. As Ian Anderson would have said - That's living in the past. If you feel the need there are a few Jethro Tull clips here and here.

posted by Ham at 00:27 -- Comments here: 5

Monday, April 23, 2007

Still life with Painting, Bureau and Marathon

Sadly, I came off my trusty steed last week and damaged my knee, which meant I couldn't get to the marathon this year, as I did last year. So here is the more sedentry way of following the Marathon.

I'd really like to congratulate all of the 36,000 (!!!) who put themselves through hell to run 26 miles and raise astonishing amounts for charities.

I'm sure others will report on the London Marathon this year, so here are two other marathon links.

posted by Ham at 00:21 -- Comments here: 7

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bluebell wood in London

It all started when NiC bemoaned the lack of a bluebell wood in London. I knew where there was one (about half a k from where I live), so now they are out in all their glory I had to share them with you. It's such a fantastic sight - these are the native British ones, too.

posted by Ham at 00:56 -- Comments here: 14

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Man's best friend

After Snowy two days ago, I bumped into this very British dog and had to include her. Todays links are to a list of reasons why dogs are better than men or women.

posted by Ham at 00:55 -- Comments here: 6

Friday, April 20, 2007

It ain't necessarily so...

I have a confession. Most opera leaves me cold. For some, the drama and the music aid and abet each other. I've never really seen it that way, although I've tried many times. Don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed it and I love the music, but the live performances seem less - not more - than recordings. That was until Porgy & Bess at the Savoy. For the first time, I was truly carried along with the opera (yes it is an opera, not a musical) - may be time I gave opera another chance. Sound AND video excerpts are here

We went along for a matinee, very good it was too. Here's a tip that's obvious but still worth saying. If you are looking for a show ticket, Use google to search for something like "porgy and bess half price offers". Works a dream

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Thursday, April 19, 2007

If Snowy is the answer....

...what was the question? - Maybe "Name a famous Belgian?" or maybe just "Who would you want on your side in a tight corner?" or maybe just "What would you find in the Tintin Shop in London?" (You can liberate your own Snowy from them here)

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Salt Beef Sandwich in London

It's harder to get a decent salt beef sandwich in London than it used to be, so when as I find them I'll let you know. This one in a cafe at the junction of Bedfordbury and New Row was OK - I'd recommend, good flavour, quantity and size. Bread was a bit ordinary, and the idea of mustard as a pool by the sde is curious.

Diamond Geezer reminded me of the Beigel bakery (featured previously, where they also serve a decent salt beef sandwich.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 11

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More in the Poetry Cafe

When I visited the Poetry Cafe, I wandered downstairs and found there was going to be a talk about Iran - that sort of thing that often happens here. Tara Jaff was just unpacking her harp, and was kind enough to let me take a photo.As I was doing that, she couldn't help her fingers playing a tune, making me whish I could have stayed. You can hear some of her music and find out about her here.

posted by Ham at 00:08 -- Comments here: 5

Monday, April 16, 2007

Poetry to my ears

There used to be many cafes associated with different activities - The Prompt Corner chess cafe in Belsize Park was my favourite. On Friday I called in to the Poetry Cafe in Betterton Street. - it's part of the Poetry Society. Pay a visit sometime - you know you want to..

posted by Ham at 00:08 -- Comments here: 6

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Welcome Home

After yesterday's welcome mat, here is another - a traditional Irish welcome mat. You'll find Thorsten Van Elten in Warren Street, they have some really interesting stuff (lots on their website) and are one of those eclectic shops that London breeds.

Oh, for those wondering what the feck "feck" and here.

posted by Ham at 00:11 -- Comments here: 8

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Welcome to London

Cisco have set out their stall in Covent Garden and are providing free wireless access - and free computers to use - in the Piazza for the next two weeks. It's a publicity stunt, and their slogan of "On the human network people decide what's possible" has a corporate-speak vomit-making quality but still..... it's Cisco, and they are the foundation of the Internet. And making people and human interaction more important can't be a bad thing.

posted by Ham at 00:23 -- Comments here: 8

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cutting edge humanity

You will not often meet people who really make a difference, I have been fortunate to meet one such, the Londoner, Trevor Sorbie (who UK readers will recognise as one of the top hairdressers).

I can hear one or two of you saying "worthwhile? hairdressing? are you SURE?" Bear with me.

Up to now, if you were a woman and lost your hair through chemotherapy (cancer) or allopecia, the support you got was advice to wear a wig or a scarf. Trevor has devoted his experience, talent and skill to cutting the wig hair for these people, to make women feel better about themselves. Such a simple yet briliant idea. He doesn't need my accolade but he is seriously good at what he does. And he is encouraging others to join in the project. And he doesn't charge for his services.

The Inside Out program on BBC1 will be featuring his work today (I believe). Doesn't that make you feel better about the human condition?

Read more about this astonishing project here. Read the stories and testimonials, you'll see what I mean. It's a charity and hopefully, soon, there will be a way to donate online. I think I may repeat this story then and see if I can't get you guys to cough up some cash.

posted by Ham at 00:14 -- Comments here: 4

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So how can you tell me you're lonely....

And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

In truth I have more to say about homelessness in London than will fit this column, both in inches and spirit. However I'm sure one or two of you will have come across this uber-bagman, he's been around for years and his technique has developed along with the size of his trolley.

Thinking of the lyrics of Streets of London - One more forgotten hero and a world that doesn't care - I started to poke around for a recording to leave you with for old times sake - that's here. But I also found an excerpt from French and Saunders that is really, really funny, that's the Trial of Ralph McTell , stay with it till the payoff at the end.

posted by Ham at 00:55 -- Comments here: 9

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

London's Elephants - No.15 in a series

"I'm just popping out for a curry!" is what this elephant seems to be saying. It's one of a pair outside the Curry Palace restaurant, Queensway. I confess I wasn't about to sample their cuisine, but I do like their taste in elephants.

Who would have thought this series has been running for over a year already.

Click for No 1 in the series.
Click for No 2 in the series.
Click for No 3 in the series.
Click for No 4 in the series.
Click for No 5 in the series.
Click for No 6 in the series.
Click for No 7 in the series.
Click for No 7 1/2 in the series.
Click for No 8 in the series.
Click for No 9 in the series.
Click for No 10 in the series.
Click for No 11 in the series.
Click for No 11 1/2 in the series.
Click for No 12 in the series.
Click for No 13 in the series.
Click for No 14 in the series.

posted by Ham at 00:07 -- Comments here: 5

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Smallest Police Station

Many people will show you this bit of London trivia - the smallest Police station in the world - but it seems that few tell you why it is there - even Diamond Geezer doesn't tell you why.

The answer is quite straightforward. Back in the 19th Century, lots of distruptive trade union types decided that the square was a good place to agitate. So the police decided that they needed an oficer to keep an eye on the troublemakers, hence the slots. That's it. The light reputedly comes off Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory.

posted by Ham at 00:03 -- Comments here: 9

Monday, April 09, 2007

London Bricks

London bricks define the look of London, and there is brisk trade in reclaimed ones. However, I've not seen them used as a medium for sculpture in any other city. This brickwork can be seen in South Audley Street, here is another picture.

posted by Ham at 00:08 -- Comments here: 5

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Lady Magazine

Here it is - the venerable London institution that is: The Lady. One of the oldest and most respected magazines it has two distinct reputations. The first, is as a publication read by maiden aunts in their dotage. The second (coincidentally contradictory) is as the single best place to look for adverts for a holiday home or a nanny.

That is why I got lucky looking for a cottage in norfolk to rent for a few days. I've used them many times (although four or five decades below their assumed readership age) and I've never been let down. So you see, there WAS a connection.

(By the way, I'mm not really back, just flying through at a rate of knots, have a happy easter)

posted by Ham at 00:11 -- Comments here: 9

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Norfolk Holiday Cottage Story

I'm back briefly, I've been away to north Norfolk for a few days, we rented a norfolk holiday cottage that turned out to be entirely excellent.

Just as much a find was this pub with its own micro brewery a mile up the road, worth a detour for! The pumps you see all serve own-made beer.

Some of you may be saying, "How come this photo is on a London blog?" First of all, why not? But there is a (admitedly tenuous connection) with London, which you will find out tomorrow. I'll fill you in on some of the detials when I have the time.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 4

Friday, April 06, 2007

Urban Foxes

Foxes have adapted perfectly to London city life: with our wide open spaces and habit of leaving all manner of edibles out for the taking, we have creted a reasonable fox heaven. If they ever learn how to cross roads we could be in trouble.

They have no fear.

Not often I can poke my lens out my back door, but this sunbather in early spring sunshine was too good to miss. Drop in on London Daily Nature Photo for some great London Nature (check out the butterflies from a few days back)

posted by Ham-II at 00:33 -- Comments here: 8

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Something Fishy?

Is this a Poisson d'Avril? (French for April Fool) No, it is the weather vane above Old Billinsgate Market building, just along the path from yesterdays shot. I remember it being turned into offices. I heard a story that it took months of fumegating to get rid of the smell from where the fish had been stored. I believe it.

Still away, posting continues as if by magic.

posted by Ham-II at 00:29 -- Comments here: 7

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Machinery of Trade

Something that many Londoners have never done is to walk the Thames Path, especially in the more odd bits of the city. If you head west along the bank from the Tower of London, you come across the last preserved remnants of the busy dock it once was. Conveniently this is in Sugar Quay, just where the Zong is moored.

I'll bring you another picture from nearby tomorrow, although to be accurate as I am away for a few days, it will have to happen by magic.

posted by Ham-II at 00:23 -- Comments here: 4

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Ceremony of the Dues

One of the more obscure but fun ceremonies, which has only been going on for the last 750 years, is the Ceremony of the Dues. The captain of every navy vessel entering the Pool of London takes a barrel of rum across to the man in charge of the Tower of London, all done with pomp and ceremony. Happens about once a year.

HMS Northumberland was accompanying the Zong, so the ceremony took place Staurday at 12 noon. Unfortunately I couldn't wait around to see it, so pictures of the preparation outside the Tower of London are all I have.

posted by Ham at 00:17 -- Comments here: 3

Monday, April 02, 2007

200 Years since the abolition of slavery

No matter where you are in the world, I would have thought the UK's 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade hasn't passed you by. I've been looking for a London angle on it, and here it is.

This is a replica 17th Century slave ship, the Zong. You need to read the story. It is in London as part of the commemoration, and their are tours that take you on board.

posted by Ham at 00:37 -- Comments here: 7

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Theme Day - a Public Post Box

This month's wordwide theme is a public post box. I was going to show you the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office post box, where you used to be able to post aletter up to midnight to arrive the next day. Unfortunately, the modernisers got there before me, and the only late box is now in Trafalgar Square. So here is one dating from 1866, behind Chelsea Hospital.

Why not click around the world.....1 (London (UK) ) -2 (Grenoble (France) ) -3 (Rotterdam (Netherlands) ) -4 (Greenville SC (USA) ) -5 (Hyde (UK) ) -6 (Villigen (Switzerland) ) -7 (Albuquerque NM (USA) ) -8 (Mazatlan (Mexico) ) -9 (Montréal (Canada) ) -10 (Stayton OR (USA) ) -11 (Shanghai (China) -Jing ) -12 (Arradon (France) ) -13 (Sequim WA (USA) ) -14 (Newcastle upon Tyne (England) ) -15 (Seattle WA (USA) -Kim ) -16 (Bastia (Corse) ) -17 (Minneapolis MN (USA) ) -18 (Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) ) -19 (Joplin MO (USA) ) -20 (Sharon, CT (USA) ) -21 (Cottage Grove MN [USA] ) -22 (Houston, TX (USA) -Candice & Megan ) -23 (Singapore - by Keropokman. ) -24 (Guelph, ON (Canada) ) -25 (Menton (France) ) -26 (Monte Carlo, Monaco ) -27 (Naples, FL (USA) ) -28 (Kyoto (Japan) ) -29 (Tokyo (Japan) ) -30 (Aliso Viejo, CA (USA) ) -31 (Cape Town (South Africa) ) -32 ( Jakarta (Indonesia) ) -33 (Kitakami (Japan) ) -34 (Tel Aviv (Israel) ) -35 (Vantaa(Finland) ) -36 (Guadalajara (Mexico) ) -37 (Auckland (New Zealand) ) -38 (Nelson (New Zealand) ) -39 (Tuzla (B&H) ) -40 (Brussels (Belgium) ) -41 (Anderson, SC (USA) ) -42 (Lubbock, TX (USA) ) -43 (John, Melbourne, (Australia) ) -44 (Stavanger (Norway) ) -45 (Tenerife (Spain) ) -46 (Stockholm (Sweden) ) -47 (Boston, MA (USA) ) -48 (Not Strictly Seattle, Susan ) -49 (New York City, (USA), Ming the Merciless ) -50 (Paris [Eric], (France) ) -51 (Ampang (Selangor) ) -52 (Sydney (Nathalie) Australia ) -53 (ailea , HI (USA) ) -54 (Manila (Philippines) ) -55 (Sydney (Sally) Australia ) -56 (Cork (Ireland) ) -57 (Saarbrücken (Germany) ) -58 (Saint Paul MN (USA) by Carol ) -59 (San Diego, CA (USA) ) -60 (Mexico [POLY], (Mexico) ) -61 (Budapest (Hungary) ) -62 (Singapore (Singapore by Zannnie) ) -63 (Madrid [Dsole] (Spain) ) -64 (Nottingham (England) ) -65 (Bandung (Indonesia) ) -66 (London - Jonemo (UK)) -

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 28

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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile

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